Back Goldfinch looking backwards

Argument 2.2 Mind exists apart from matter, the strong case.

The only way to make this argument is to adduce evidence, give instances where it happens that mind manifests itself in the absence of matter. A clear instance would be Hamlet’s ghost. It speaks out loud of its purpose (Hamlet should kill the usurping king), manifesting mind. But it does this in the body of a ghost; that is, not in a body that science can accept as material. And we know that it is a ghost because it comes to Hamlet by rising through the floor.

Before I give some non-fictional cases, I will note that there are two problems with Hamlet’s story that we want to avoid in our real-life ones — first, there are no witnesses to the story other than Hamlet himself (if we disregard the ghost) And second, absent witnesses, we may suppose the whole event was Hamlet’s hallucination.

I am offering two different kinds of evidence for the strong case.

1. While there may exist a good number of well-authenticated and witnessed actual ghost stories, I have not done research into that area of human experience — largely because I have always been highly skeptical of ghost stories. On the other hand, my on and off again interest in UFO phenomena eventually led me to read in that realm to a small degree (relative to the committed UFOlogist, which I am not). And I find many very credible stories of alien ghost-like behavior with multiple witnesses. For instance, my first search through Linda Moulton Howe’s Earthfiles for the word “floated” brought up this hit — “09/10/2010 —  Part 3:  Beyond Aztec and Wright-Patterson - John Smith's Encounter with “Nordic” Non-Humans.” (Link — requires subscription.) In this story a man is visiting Marineland with his wife and his aunt. He and the sister (not the wife) observe four rather strange people standing at an aquarium in front of them. One of the four turns to stare directly at John Smith, then turns back. All four then float off the the witnesses’ right and up an escalator to disappear. The man and his aunt exchange astonished glances and confirm to each other the impossible scene they have just witnessed. They draw pictures of what happened, make notes as to detail etc. These as well as their story they share with Ms Howe.

I do not propose to offer more such stories as evidence, nor do I wish to get into detail about why I trust the reporter in the case and find the witnesses credible. Instead, I would ask two questions of my readers/auditors — 1) on the supposition of absolute veracity in this story, does it not make a good prima facie case for mind existing apart from matter in the strong sense as here defined? And 2) on the supposition that the story is credibly told by a credible witness, and similarly confirmed by a second witness, how many such stories do we need to hear before we begin to question the blanket denials issued by today’s science?

Regarding question 1, I anticipate that people will think it only technically true that the story shows mind existing apart from matter in the strong sense. They are likely to think, instead, that it shows a new kind of matter or the old kind operating in new ways, but susceptible in any case to management by known or knowable laws of science. The bottom line would be that mind here is still operating in matter.

But I think question 2 will likely get in the way of most people’s even thinking seriously about question 1 — for I think most people who are already convinced that the science of today is science for all time, are not willing to put up any number as sufficient to persuade them that they should seriously question the science of today. It is a moot question for them because they absolutely cannot bring themselves to believe that such stories could in the first place actually be credible from credible witnesses, or if so, then they are quite sure that error or hoax is involved. And they are so sure of this that they are not willing to take the time and trouble to study even a relatively small number of stories like these.

2. As an escape from the logical dead end of thinking about floating aliens that they only show new ways of controlling old matter and so are not “really” ghosts, so to speak, I will turn to the out of body and near-death experiences. Here we are dealing with real spirits, at least on the surface of it — no one can argue that the kindly deceased uncle met in the land of light who tells the OBE-er that she simply must return to earth, it’s not yet her time, is “just” old matter under new control. However, it is a problem for my proof that in the OBE there are no other witnesses, or at least none who live to talk about it back here on earth.

The answer to the witness problem is the veridical OBE. That is, OBE’s in which the OBE-er discerns or acquires some information that is both really true, to us back on earth, and also was unknown or could not have been known to the experiencer prior to the time of her strange adventure.  Here is a terse summary of some of the most scientifically persuasive of these taken from the website of Thomas Knierim,, the page on nonlocal consciousness :

There are many reports of so-called veridical OBEs. These involve correct accounts of remote objects, events, or people which are later verified by a third person. For example, the subject might report about people in another room, or things that are outside the field of vision and cannot possibly be perceived through the sense organs. Several veridical OBEs have occurred under laboratory conditions. Dr. Michael Sabom reported 32 cases of cardiac arrest patients who were able to describe their resuscitation in great detail. Dr. Pim van Lommel and Dr. Kenneth Ring have published similar studies with well over 100 cases of veridical OBEs. Dr. Charles Tart has conducted an experiment where the subject has correctly identified a 5-digit number that was placed on top of a shelf -invisible to the subject- after an OBE. Mainstream science cannot explain these findings. Veridical OBEs can be explained if we assume that consciousness is nonlocal to the brain.

What everyone in the operating room had, then, if they listened to the later report from their near-death patient, was an experience of an invisible ghost who left their patient for a time and then returned to tell the story of what she saw and heard. They are themselves witness to the fact that this story cannot be a hallucination of the material patient.

I would like to hear my audience’s response to the two questions, mutatis mutandis, that were posed regarding the floating aliens. For instance, if we take the Dr. Charles Tart experiment as true, simply, does that not show that mind exists apart from the body in the strong sense?

For an aside on the witness problem, see endnote 1.

I will make this story available to readers/auditors who are interested. There is nothing special about it; it just happened to come up first in my search.

There exists a large AWARE study currently ongoing. No officilaly reported results yet. See endnote 2.